Profile: Iwan Irawan, Corporate Executive Chef at Kosenda Group
Taking the big challange of being a leader heads on, Chef Iwan Irawan became an executive chef when he was only 25 years old!
Full of positivism Chef Iwan Irawan has been managing the team at Kosenda Group as their Corporate Executive Chef with a big dream. This time, we met Chef Iwan at Kayu-Kayu Restaurant to know more about his passion for cooking.
Tell us a little bit about your journey before joining Kosenda Group
I have been in the hospitality Industry for about ten years. I started my career at Independent restaurant and cafe outlets before joining hotel groups such as Accor and Aston. At the hotels, I was able to work as an executive chef for different properties across Jakarta. Now I work at Kosenda Group as their Corporate Executive Chef.
What concepts are you developing at Kosenda Group’s outlets?
At Kosenda Hotel, we offer a Chinese Peranakan concept, while at Kayu-Kayu Restaurant you will find Indonesian authentic food.
At Kayu-Kayu, we want to give the best quality of food. The taste is very authentic and homey, but we use high-quality ingredients. For example, our Gulai Kambing uses big lamb shanks which are imported from outside Indonesia. Another example is Sup Iga, as we use huge back ribs that will surprise our customers. So if I can conclude, we serve improved Indonesian cuisine.
What makes Indonesian foods interesting?
The important things in cooking are the quality of the ingredients and the steps in the right cooking method. Right now there is a trend in Indonesian cuisine, where hotels in Jakarta are having a lot of Indonesian food promotions. It can happen because Indonesian food is varied and simply not boring. For example, if I eat Indonesian food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I will feel fine. But if I already eat a steak for lunch, I probably won’t have another one for dinner. Perhaps it’s because we are not used to it, as we are after all Indonesian people.
But what’s make Indonesian food interesting is because it consists of so many authentic flavor and recipe, using a lot of different spices. If the cooking steps are followed correctly, you will be able to create a lot of different Indonesian foods.
How do you get inspired?
I do a lot of research and development before creating a menu. I like to visit the traditional market and seeing the ingredients. Usually, there will be new ideas popping out of my mind. What’s more, I already have a stash of menus from my previous experience, so that actually helps me to create a new balanced dish.
For example, when we wanted to create Sate Marangi menu at Kayu-Kayu Restaurant, first I tried two types of satay at two different regions, in Cianjur and Purwakarta. After comparing the two of them, plus my own recipe, we decided to use the authentic taste from Purwakarta. This is my strategy in creating a new menu.
How do you manage your team?
Becoming a leader is not easy, we have to have the willingness to get tired, to think ahead. I believe a good leader is someone who can create many new leaders. So I tried to manage the team by proofing myself and becoming their examples. From cooking skill, attitude, knowledge, cleanness, I have to show that I am better so the team will respect and follow my guidance. There are many staffs who have exited the company and become the best at other places.
How did you get interested in culinary?
Cooking has been my hobby for a long time. I was living alone when I am in the High School and has been cooking on my own. It’s funny because many people said if the chefs had a bad mood their food become spoiled. But in my case, it’s the opposite. When I’m having personal problems, I go right away to the kitchen to cook. My problems instantly disappear and I found new ideas and inspiration when cooking. If it’s a hobby, we won’t feel tired. Luckily for me, my hobby can make me earn some money.
That’s very interesting chef! What’s your hobby besides cooking?
I like reading, and not only cooking book. If I counted, I can buy a ninja motorbike using all the money I spent on books. It’s become my hobby because I believe reading will give you new information and inspiration. Of course, besides reading I also like to eat. If there is a new place opening around the town, I would almost definitely visit the place. I love to travel and do some culinary trip.
What’s your suggestion for hanging out in Gading Serpong area?
If you are looking for street food, visit Pasar Delapan on the evening, or Pasar Paramount any time any day. For the hangout spots, I like The Breeze because the place is really nice, but it can be a bit quiet.
Lastly, tell us about your dream or goals in the future?
I am a very positive person. I always give people benefit of the doubt even if I heard bad comments from other people. So my dream is pretty simple, I want to make many people happy. I want to share what I have, not only material things but also knowledge and time. I want to make as many people happy.